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Crime Pays - Payday 3 Interview

We caught up with Starbreeze to talk all about the upcoming cooperative heisting game, which is set to make its debut on September 21, on PC and consoles.

Audio transcription

"Hello everyone and welcome back to Gamereactor. As you can tell by the big logo behind us right now, I'm currently in PlayOn's booth and talking with Almir from the Payday 3 team. Now I had a chance to play Payday 3 yesterday, got to complete a heist, 99 Boxes I believe what it was called, and well I had a special guest in it which we'll no doubt talk about in a moment. But to start things off, let's talk a little bit about the game itself. Now Payday 2 is, you know, years in the making at this point. How have you taken the experiences from Payday 2 and incorporated them into Payday 3 at launch? That's a really good question. Wow, like, and so nice to be a Gamescom, right? So the thing is, Payday 3 is almost on the month, on the day almost, coming out 10 years after Payday 2 was released. And if Payday the Heist, the first game, was the concept, Payday 2 was the refinement, and Payday 3 is the evolution."

"And I think having worked on Payday 2 for 10 years now, over 200 updates, 88 heists, hundreds of weapons, masks, over 20 characters, we've learned a lot during that time, right? What to do, what not to do, and hopefully we brought as many learnings as possible into Payday 3.
I think one of the most important facets of that for me of Payday 3 is the switch of engines, right? For Payday 2 we used our own tech called the diesel engine, but for Payday 3 we're going with Unreal 4, which is amazing, right? Because it's such a powerful engine that allows us to do so many different things that you got to experience when you completed the heist."

"And in the post-launch we're actually going to upgrade the engine as well to Unreal Engine 5.
So yeah, it feels really good. And Payday 3 for me is the evolution. It's the same Payday formula, but it's evolved, right? We've looked at every aspect of the heisting game, and we've looked at it and gone like, how can we improve that in order to further create this feeling that you're experiencing the heist fantasy, you know? We want you to feel like you are an actual career criminal, robbing banks and getting paid. I think one of the key things as well that I noticed with Payday 3 is how broad the customization suite is from the get-go, like all these the skills in particular. How do they allow you to really define your own play style?
That's interesting with the skills, because in Payday 2 we had five different skill trees, four at launch, and then we added an additional one at post-launch. And we also had something called Perk X that allowed you to change a few things as well. But for Payday 3 what we did was we revamped the entire skill tree. So in Payday 3 instead you have a hundred different skills that you can pick and choose from. So it's up to you how you want to design your character, right? In that sense. Do you want to be an expert at taking down cloakers? You can be that guy."

"You want to be the expert at handling dozers or being a supportive character to your team? You can be that person too. And I think that ties really well into the experience of Payday, because Payday is played in two ways really. You have the stealth aspect, which I assume you tried to do. And then you have the loud one, which you were then forced to do, right? And that's up to the players, you know. Either you focus on being able to handle loud heists and you pick skills that help you doing that. Or you try to do stealth and you pick, you know, your silence gun and skills that support that type of play style. Yeah. And let's talk about the Payday gang themselves. The majority of them are back. You can't see on the camera right now, but they're all dotting the wall around here right now. How are you further going to expand and explore these characters' narratives in Payday 3? So the cool thing about Payday as a franchise now with the third game being the trilogy, right, is that it all has a red thread, even from the first game to through the second. It's a 10-year storyline and now with the third. So five years ago, the Payday gang left the life of crime behind them and went their separate ways. But for whatever reason that we haven't disclosed yet, they are forced back into the life of crime in Payday 3. And they dawn upon New York City in order to do that. And that's where Ice-T comes in, right, who we worked with in order to bring some more spice into the Payday universe. So Ice-T portrays a new character, a new contractor for the Payday gang in New York, or in New Jersey, actually, the mission that you played. And he asked the Payday gang to, yeah, do a little funny business for him. Yeah."

"So, yeah. And I think with the storyline, I don't want to spoil too much, but what I can say is that at launch, we're going to have four characters, the original four, Dallas, Hoxton, Wolf and Chains, as well as two additional characters. And if you look at the character gallery of Payday 2, we have over 20 different heisters, some collaborative characters like John Wick and Jacket from Hotline Miami, and other originals that we've done ourselves, like Sidney and so on."

"And who comes back, we do not know yet. They're all unaccounted for. And I think that creates a lot of excitement within the community, because as a matter of fact, when we were making Payday 2, Houston had replaced Hoxton at the launch of the game. And the players were like, where's Hoxton, you know? And someone on Reddit said, maybe he's in jail. And we were like, as developers, that's exactly what happened. So we created a heist scenario in the post-launch called Hoxton Breakout, where the players had to take him out of jail and bring him back into the Payday gang. So we always have an ear to the ground for the community, what they say and who they want back and who they want newly added and so on. Yeah. So we'll see. So if you've got someone that you want to come back, start saying that now. Let's talk a little bit about Ice-T, though. How did that come about?
Why Ice-T? It's a good question. Actually, he's been a fan of the game since 2015, I believe."

"Yeah. So he's been playing a lot of heists. And we saw him on Twitter posting, you know, I'm playing Payday 2. And we reached out to him a few years ago and was like, you want to do something with us? We're making a new game called Payday 3. And he's like, hell yeah. So he's a big fan of the franchise and we couldn't be happier with him. You know, he's such an interesting character in real life, but also has this enigma around him and his persona, you know, and him being able to portray a character like Mac, you know, and having a heavy hand in the design of that and the character's attitude, you know, to the heisting game. Drawing in some cases, maybe from real life experiences, who knows? But yeah, it's been super funny to work with. He's a really cool individual. And I'm very excited to see where we take it in the post-launch as well, right? And you mentioned a moment ago that obviously Payday 3 is launching on Unreal Engine 4, but you will eventually be moving up to Unreal Engine 5. So how is that going to work?
How is that going to improve the Payday 3 experience? We don't know exactly yet, right?
Because currently we're working on finishing the game for launch, which is next month, and 21st of September. And the reason I say that is that we haven't defined an exact timing for it."

"We've said to the community that we are looking into doing it as quickly as possible in the post-launch. When that is exactly, we don't know. And how that affects the experience, we don't know either, right? Because it depends on what we choose to focus on. But I'm sure it's going to improve the experience for players in ways I hope they appreciate. Yeah. And yesterday, or around opening night live, I believe, you showed off a live-action trailer for Payday 3."

"When can we expect the full movie to be launching? Also a very good question. Yeah, so we released a five-minute live-action trailer that we recorded earlier in the spring. It was a super fun job for us to do. The team had a lot of fun in making that happen. And it's an homage, really, to Payday 2, right? We were doing this 10 years ago, and it was a couple years ago we did the last one."

"And it all ties together with the fact that we, earlier in the year, announced as a studio, right?
Starbreeze Entertainment announced that we are looking into doing a movie or a TV show together with a company called Stockholm Syndrome. So we're currently investigating it. But from the looks of it, the community wants to see it happen. We'll do our best to make sure, you know, in whatever shape or form it will happen, it'll be as good as it possibly can be. Yeah. And another thing as well, Payday 3 is launching on Game Pass. How do you expect that to really catapult the game to a new level? I think in the same vein, we saw Payday 2 get an injection now earlier in the spring when we launched it for Epic Game Store, you know? Introducing the game to another community does so much for the life force of the community. And the special thing about Payday 3 for us, and this is a shout out to you console heisters out there, is that for Payday 2, you know, really screwed up the post-launch for consoles. We were unable to fill the appetite of console players. They didn't get all the updates and so on, because we had a lot of technical issues with that game. But for Payday 3, thanks to Unreal and thanks to the team doing their utmost, you know, in order to make it happen, we are looking to have a parody between all platforms. Cross-progression, cross-play. So no matter if you play on the Xbox, on the PlayStation or on the PC, you can play with each other and play the same content. So yeah. So there's really no reason to not play Payday 3 when it comes out next month. As a final question then, we know that Payday 3 is coming on September 21st, 2023. For the new heisters and the people who are going to be getting into Payday for the first time with this game, what tips would you give them? Grab a friend who's not a loose cannon."

"No, but I think go into it knowing that this is a game that even though it's the third game in the series, you're still going to have a great time if you don't know what to do. Because when you screw up in a heist, like accidentally throw a grenade, that's not the end of things, you know.
You don't have to restart the mission, you just continue playing. And day by day or heist by heist we'll learn how to do things proper, yeah. And I think my colleague Andreas, who's the lead producer on the game, he said it best. He said Payday 3 is a game that's hard to learn but easy to master."

"So don't be afraid in the beginning if you fail the heists. As long as you're having a good time, you're all good, yeah. Well, there you have it. You know, as long as you're having a good time, you're doing it right. So Payday 3 is coming out on September 21st, 2023. You'll be able to find plenty more about the game on your local GameRants region, so don't miss out. Otherwise, we'll see you all on the next interview. Take care, everyone."

"It's Payday, motherfuckers!"

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